With the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the continued reduction in perceived threats from its previous members, NATO members have continued their reduction in standing forces. With Russia and its allies no longer being the enemy, and Germany no longer being the front line, the forces stationed in this region have also been greatly reduced with a possible new British government saying they will completely withdraw the BAOR and bring them all back to UK. This book looks at Germany’s reduction in their standing tank forces in response to this greatly reduced threat.
Author: Peter Blume
Format: Soft back
Language: English and German text
Translation: Jochen Vollert
The book starts with a short introduction called “A Time of Change”, which really highlights the massive reduction and restructuring that is taking place within the German armoured forces, and the complete removal of the Leopard 2A4 from Germany’s inventory in 2008.
A short history of the Panzertruppe of the Bundeswehr (Armoured Corps of the Modern German Army) is included, covering its founding in 1956, Army organization two 1959 to 1970, Army organization three 1970 to 1979, Army organization four 1980 to 1990, Army organization five 1990 to 1994, New Army for new tasks 1995 to 2002, and Army of the future 2002 to 2006.
The next text segment covers Neues Heer 2010 (New Army 2010). The reduction from 46 Panzer battalions at its height to what will be 6 Panzer battalions in the near future. The book goes into detail of the makeup of these remaining Panzer battalions, including listing the support vehicles. Despite the specific number of troops not being mentioned, it is possible to work out the greatly reduced associated man power involved. The remaining and disbanded battalions are mentioned by name, and in the case of the remaining units their specific purpose is outlined.
The book closes with a brief history of the remaining active Panzer battalions;
• Panzer battalion 33 from the M47 tanks at its inception in December 1958 to its current Leopard 2A6 tanks.
• Panzer battalion 93 was a training battalion when created in April 1956 using M47 tanks before being equipped with M48 tanks in 1958 to its current Leopard 2A6 tanks.
• Panzer battalion 104 created as a tank destroyer battalion in October 1970 using the Kanonen Jagd Panzer to its current Leopard 2A6.
• Panzer battalion 203 founded in September 1956 as a Panzer grenadier battalion made up of WW2 soldiers with combat experience to their current Leopard 2A6 and 2A6M tanks.
• Panzer battalion 393 founded in March 1991 using soldiers of the former East German motorized rifle brigade which were trained on the Leopard 2A4 and now using the Leopard A5.
• Panzer battalion 413 founded in March 1991using Leopard 2A4 and now using the Leopard 2A5.
There are a number of tanks outside of the tank battalions which are mention these are;
• 176b Leopard 2A6, 2A6M MBT’s and 88 Leopard 2A5 tanks of the three crises reaction battalions.
• 49 Leopard 2A6 and 37 Leopard 2A5 which are used for training purposes.
• At the time of going to press, 20 Leopard 2A6M tanks of Panzer battalion 203 on loan to the Canadian armoured corps serving in Afghanistan.
There are 90 colour photographs and 2 black and white photographs of primarily the Leopard tank in all of its guises, and a few photos of the support vehicles which will still be utilized.
For a book of only 64 pages there is a great deal of information included for people with an interest in German armoured forces, and the photographs will be of a great help to anyone looking to make a model of a Leopard tank. The photos will also help to give the modeler ideas for dioramas, weathering, and camouflage.
Highs: A very good overview of where the German armoured forces are going and from where they came, all wrapped up with an excellent selection of photographs for reference purposes.Lows: The mix of German and English text can be distracting.Verdict: I highly recommend this book as an introduction to anyone who has an interest in where German armoured forces have come from and are going since WWII. And anyone interested in making a model of the Leopard in German service.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...